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By Kevin Hogan on August 1 2017
You read that correctly! After a 2 month journey, I finally had my second surgery on July 12th to remove the screws inside my mouth that anchored the wires holding my jaw shut (the picture below shows what I’m talking about, although there was another wire on the other side).
On June 26th, the wires were cut, allowing me to open my mouth after six weeks, but the screws stayed in place in case the bone had not healed and the surgeon would have had to re-wire my mouth shut for longer (thankfully I healed up in time). After that, I was eating normal food and not talking like someone who’s so angry they can’t open their mouth, and it was a very nice feeling to say the least. People’s first impression was that eating a liquid diet must have been the worst part, but this was not what I found. After a while, I just got used to eating smoothies and soups, but talking was always the most frustrating. This was especially true within the mill, as with the background noise and hearing protection, it was very hard to understand my mumbled words. Thankfully this is all over now, and three weeks after my surgery I’m feeling 100% normal again.
Every Canada Day, the city of Prince George puts on a day of festivities, music, and food in Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park, ending with Fireworks set off from the top of Connaught Hill. This year, Big Brothers Big Sisters also put on the “Spike for Kids’ Sake” Beach Volleyball Tournament to support local children in Prince George, in which my office roommate, Tristin Buchner, the Environmental Co-op Student at Northwood Pulpmill, signed up a team named “Spike Tyson”.
Being the organized, prepared, and mature adults that we are, Tristin and I decided to move a barbeque to my house at around 10:30 that morning, with the tournament starting at 11. After making it safely across town with the barbeque precariously balanced in the trunk of my car (it didn’t fully fit in the trunk, you’d think engineering students might measure this beforehand), we rushed over to the tournament, accidentally parked the car on the opposite side of the park from the volleyball courts, and sprinted over, arriving with literally 2 minutes to spare.
The team came out a little rusty, since not a single one of us currently play volleyball, but we trusted the process and managed to pull out a big win in the first game of the day against what seemed to be the fiercest competitors in the tournament. Winning the remainder of our round robin games, we cruised through the quarter and semi-finals, ending up facing off once again against the same team that we beat to start the day in the final game of the tournament. We came out with an insatiable thirst for victory, and prevailed for the first set of the game. Moving into the second set, we let our ego get the best of us, losing and tying the game up at 1-1. Finally, with everything on the line in the last set, we couldn’t bring it together, and unfortunately started off our legacy with a 2nd place finish in the tournament.
In the end, this was a great experience, and was one of my most memorable Canada Days to date. I would like to give a big thanks to Big Brothers Big Sisters for organizing and putting on this tournament for such a great cause, our team had a blast and we hope that this becomes an annual event. We finished off the day by putting together the barbeque we had worked so hard to set up. We were then joined by some of the other students at Canfor, as well as some new friends that have made this a summer for the books.
This past weekend a friend and I decided to visit Prince George’s own drive-in movie theatre for a double header movie showing of Cars 3 and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. The theatre is located on Raceway Road, off Chief Lake Road, and is only about 15 minutes outside of town (less if you live in the Hart).
Growing up in Kelowna, my family and I frequently visited the drive-in theatre in Armstrong , BC, and I have many fond memories from these excursions. I will never forget sitting in the backseat of my parents’ Ford Explorer to escape the rain outside, with my two friends Brett and Jaman, watching “The Other Guys” and nearly crying laughing as Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg raced around chasing bad guys in a Toyota Prius.
Although we only made it through the first movie (it started at 10:30pm, and ended around 12:30am, a little late for an old guy like me, and I was still pretty beat from my surgery), Cars was a surprisingly entertaining and fun movie, and I would strongly recommend a night at the drive-in to anyone in PG. On top of the theatre, the venue also has Go-Kart Racing as well as Mini-Golf, check out their website for more info on both, as well as the schedule for movie show times and dates (http://www.parkdrivein.com/).
Also this past weekend, I joined another out of towner, my friend Sasha, who plays on the UNBC Women’s Soccer Team (Go T-wolves!), on a second hike to Teapot Mountain, trying to embrace our inner PG spirit. In my first blog, I talked about how beautiful the views are from the top of this short hike, and how easily accessible it is from the city. Even so, I was once again amazed at the natural beauty of the area, even with the cloud cover and slight drizzle the day provided.
In my first blog, I spoke about the different aspects of the Energy Management program at Canfor, and some of my responsibilities as a co-op student. I wanted to give everyone a quick update on the specific projects I have worked on so far, and a look into some of the projects I will be involved in for the remainder of my work term.
The first project I have been working on is tracking down air leaks throughout the mill. Northwood had multiple lists of air leaks that had been found in the past. I was in charge of finding these leaks, investigating whether or not they had been fixed, and submitting work requests for them to be fixed if needed. I also worked on amalgamating the different lists into one master list to make tracking the status of these leaks easier and more efficient. Even small leaks can result in a large usage of energy over time, and fixing them results in saving energy by reducing the load on the air compressors. This was a great opportunity to familiarize myself with the different areas of the mill, as well as work with the different team members in these areas, from operators and maintenance staff, to the planners who turn the work requests I submit into work orders.
Another project I have been working on is putting together a map of the firewater system throughout the mill, which will be used as not only a troubleshooting tool if there are issues, but will also allow the flow being used in this system to be tracked more effectively and accurately. This is again providing me with a solid opportunity to explore and learn more about the layout of the mill, and has also allowed me to find new steam and air leaks in the areas I have mapped out so far.
Throughout my work term, one of the things that has been the most interesting to me is the sheer size and complexity of the mill. The amount of different equipment, wiring for automation, and piping for fluid and gas transportation, is mind blowing, and it seems like you could spend years and years working at this mill and still not know every area in great detail. But what may be more impressive is the knowledge that the staff here have of the mill. For example, I was tracking down an air leak in one of the digester buildings, and had a picture and an equipment asset number to guide me. After getting lost for longer than I care to admit, I encountered one of the operators from this area, and asked him if he could help me find what I was looking for. He took one look at the picture and asset number, and within seconds knew where I needed to go and lead me directly to the area displayed in the picture I had. Not only was he efficient, he was more than willing to help, which has been the common trend I have found since I started here, and one of the reasons I really enjoy working at Canfor.
I also realized I’ve put zero photos of Northwood in the blog posts so far, so I wanted to include a few shots of different parts of the mill.